ICDE World Conference Update

If you’re interested in online learning and transforming lives and societies through education, then Dublin is the place to be in November. The official opening of the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning is less than 100-days away when we expect to welcome to Dublin around 1000 delegates from over 50 countries. Our NIDL team has a great social and cultural programme planned for delegates along with an engaging mix of hot topics and topical themes for discussion during the conference. If you haven’t already done so, then make sure you register as soon as possible for this year’s ICDE World Conference.

However, if for some reason you can’t get to Dublin in person then we would like to let you know about the opportunity to submit a Virtual Paper which still gives people from around the world a chance to participate in this major international event. Virtual Papers will be included in the conference programme and formal proceedings with the same validity as other paper categories. The conference website contains further information about the requirements for Virtual Papers and authors need to submit a short abstract (250 words) through the conference submission system by no later than Friday 23rdAugust.

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Lastly, for a more detailed conference update make sure you check the information in last week’s dedicated ICDE World Conference Newsletter and keep an eye out for next week’s edition. The World Conference Newsletter will be published fortnightly as we countdown to the event, with newsworthy items, brief profiles of our major speakers, links to significant reports that will be discussed at the conference, as well as providing valuable tips and information of how delegates can make the most of the event and your time in Dublin.

Graduates, remember to fail… or as Beckett said, “Fail Better”

By Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl 

What…Yes I said, go ahead fail. The mood in DCU last week was of celebration and rightly so. One of our Executive Dean’s captured the mood in a tweet, “Lots of suits, heels and proud families…”[@annelooney] and she was right. But after the celebrations were done and you move on to the next stage in your life, please be comfortable with that you will not always make the right choices and that things might not work out the way you planned (if you planned!).

Living in a culture of achievement – sometimes we forget the importance of learning by making mistakes or maybe I should re-word that and say learning by trying. Think of the most natural learners there are, young children, they learn every day by making mistakes. Importantly, these mistakes are usually mediated by family, fellow children and eventually experience. Unfortunately, failure has many negative connontations, but…

The Open University last year in its Innovating Pedagogy Report outlined an evolving trend which they term as Productive Failure. They describe it as an approach and a philosophy which can help students and teachers to embrace failure as part of a process to encourage deeper learning and understanding. Amy Edmonson, of Harvard advocated some years ago in the Harvard Business Review strategies for organisations to learn from failure. She gave many reasons as to why companies fail to learn…as you may have guessed the blame game is up there, but she also outlined those companies such as the creative giant Ideo that use failure to innovate.

Although, we know instinctively that failure is not always bad…(yes we do!) we sometimes react to it as if it was fatal…most of the time it is not, particularly if you engage with learning from it. Just read or listen to any description of some of the most talented people in the world, many of them started off doing one thing, or not getting on and then they move on to do great and wonderful things, using many of things they learned whilst making so called “mistakes”- think Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan or J.K. Rowling. So, have you worked out what failure looks like for you, independent of what society or others expect of you? Pehaps more importantly, are you willing to keep trying to learn from your experiences independent of the outcome? I hope that DCU has helped you to achieve, but hopefully we have also helped you not to be afraid to learn from any circumstance – whether these experiences have been on Erasmus, on work experience, during LABs, in clubs and societies or in tutorials and lectures.

As you put your suit back on the hanger or kicked those incredibly high, high heels under the bed you might remember when a day comes when you feel that you haven’t achieved:

“Have courage, learn from the clouds”


The clouds in the sky gather, but above them extends the Milky Way (Alsop & Kupenga, 2016 Mauri Ora: Wisdom from the MĀORI World).